Much has been said about celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and others getting away with crimes through incredibly lenient sentences such as driving under the influence, shoplifting, vandalism and even assault. It’s very obvious that average everyday people wouldn’t have so many chances to escape lengthy jail terms when committing the same crimes as these celebs.
In that respect, the life of a celebrity is completely different than that of an average Joe walking down the street, but their celebrity status can lead towards many vices and sometimes the need for the fast and wild lifestyle their position can afford for them, and it’s clear that some feel that the law doesn’t apply to them.
Yet, for people who are often idolized by their fans as heroes and icons, it can be hard to imagine that they would do anything so blatantly horrific or evil that their crimes more often than not land them in jail for the majority of their lives. They get no second chances and absolutely no leniency, just the same as everyone else.
Here are 15 actors, athletes, reality stars, and others that have at some point gained celebrity status but have thrown it all away by committing some absolutely despicable crimes.
15. Skylar Deleon – Murdering An Innocent Couple
Skylar Deleon was a former child actor that appeared in several commercials and was featured on the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV series as the character Roger. However, as an adult, his career faded mostly due to his inability to remember his lines.
In 2004, married couple Thomas and Jackie Hawks advertised their yacht for sale, and Deleon, his then-pregnant wife Jennifer Henderson, and their friend and former corrections officer Alonso Machain answered. The Hawkes were last seen alive on the morning of November 15, 2004, and although the yacht returned, their bodies have never been found.
Although Deleon tried to claim that Machain was a witness to the purchase of the yacht, Machain returned the US after fleeing to Mexico, confessing to his involvement in the murder of the Hawkes and testifying against both Deleon and his wife for their crimes. Deleon received the death penalty, and Henderson received a life sentence for first-degree murder.
14. C-Murder – Shooting A Fan Over A Rap Battle
The aptly named C-Murder – real name Corey Miller – is a platinum selling American rapper, actor and song writer from New Orleans. He made a name for himself working with legends like Snoop Dogg, and is the brother of hip hop legend Master P.
However, on a night out at the Platinum Club, in Louisiana, the rapper would shoot and kill a 16-year-old fan named Steve Thomas by shooting him in the chest with an automatic pistol. According to witnesses, C-Murder got into a rap battle with Thomas and felt humiliated when the young boy got the upper hand and a better crowd reaction, and he shot him to death.
The trial was drowning in controversy when it emerged that C-Murder’s friends were intimidating witnesses, and jurors struggled to agree on a guilty verdict. Miller didn’t help himself when he tried to a shoot a bouncer when he was supposed to be under house arrest. All attempts to get the conviction overturned have since failed, and C-Murder will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
13. Jared Fogle – Crimes Against Children
Jared Fogle made himself a minor celebrity after becoming a spokesperson for Subway’s advertising campaigns from 2000 to 2015 after claiming that he lost 200 pounds on a diet of Subway sandwiches. He was featured in Men’s Health magazine, made several appearances on Saturday Night Live, WWE television, and starred in Adam Sandler‘s Jack and Jill as himself.
In 2004, Jared Fogle founded the Jared Foundation, a so-called non-profit organization set up to help raise awareness about childhood obesity. However, in 2015 the company’s director and friend of Fogle, Russell Taylor, was arrested and sentenced to 27 years in prison for several offenses related to child sex offenses and voyeurism.
The investigation into Taylor led straight to Fogle as co-conspirators, and Fogle pleaded guilty to paying for sex with minors and possession of underage materials and wound up with 15 years and 8 months in a federal prison. There have been several more allegations made against Fogle since his imprisonment but the investigations fell through.
12. Big Lurch – Murdered (And ATE) His Friend While High
Big Lurch, who was born Antron Singleton, is an American rapper whose star was rising in the rap scene after releasing his first album and after working with Bay Area rappers such as Too Short, DJ U-Neek, and the late Mac Dre to name a few. Unfortunately, Big Lurch’s notoriety didn’t come from his musical career but from committing one of the most horrific crimes on this list.
After suffering a broken neck when he was hit by a drunk driver, Lurch began self-medicating with PCP (also known as Angel Dust) to ease the pain. After one night of smoking PCP with his friend Tynisha Ysasis, Lurch murdered Ysasis and eaten parts of her body.
Ysasis was discovered at her apartment by her friend with her chest ripped open with a 3-inch knife, her body was covered in teeth marks over her face and lungs, which had been torn from her chest and the knife snapped off in her shoulder. Police later found the 6-foot 6-inch rapper naked, covered in blood staring at the sky muttering and growling to himself.
11. Tom Payne – Sexual Assault Charges
The 7-foot 1-inch Tom Payne was a very promising former professional basketball player for the Atlanta Hawks and a less successful professional boxer. Despite his height and physical gifts, Payne didn’t play organized basketball until his sophomore year of high school, but he was a natural. By the time he got to his senior year, he became one of the most sought-after players in the US and was quickly drafted by the Atlanta Hawks.
However, for all his talent, he showed signs of a bad temper and a troubled lifestyle both on and off the court. Yet his life would take an even darker turn when he was arrested and convicted of two counts of rape and one count of aggravated sodomy. He was sentenced to five years, but as soon as he was released he was extradited to Kentucky where he was convicted of rape and attempted rape.
After being released again in 1983, he spent those years trying his hand at boxing and acting, but on Valentine’s Day 1986 the police caught him the act of raping a woman. He was convicted of this crime and faced additional fifteen years in prison for parole violation, where he remains to this day.
10. Vybz Kartel – Murder Charges
Vybz Kartel is a Jamaican musical artist who collaborated with the likes of Rihanna, Jay Z, and Major Lazer and is cited by Drake as being one of his biggest inspirations. The controversial reggae star had his own brand of rum, condoms, and featured weekly on MTV’s Vice Guide to Dancehall, but the show was canceled in light of Kartel’s murder charges in 2011.
Kartel was charged for his involvement in the deaths of two men. While one murder case was dropped he and three other men were found guilty of killing Clive “Lizard” Williams. The key piece of evidence is a text message sent from Kartel’s mobile phone bragging that William’s had been chopped up into so many pieces his body will never be found. Kartel was sentenced to life imprisonment, and won’t be eligible for parole until he served 35 years.
9. Bertil Fox – Shot And Killed Girlfriend And Her Mother
Bertil Fox was a former Mr. Universe and top five Mr. Olympia competitor and is still considered to be one of the best British bodybuilders of all time. However, on September 30, 1997, in the island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Fox’s former girlfriend, 20-year-old beauty queen Leyoca Brown, and her mother Violet Browne, were shot dead with one of Bertil’s guns, leading to his arrest.
Fox’s first trial ended in a hung jury, but due to public outcry he was quickly retried, found guilty, and originally sentenced to death by hanging. However, after an appeal by the British human rights committee his sentence was changed to life in prison. Bertil Fox maintains his innocence to this day claiming corruption and media manipulation.
8. Mark Rogowski – Murdered And Sexually Assaulted His Ex’s Friend
Mark “Gator” Rogowski was, along with his teammates Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain, Christian Hosoi, and Steve Caballero, one of the pioneers and faces of skateboarding due to the rising popularity of “vert” ramp skating in the late 80s and early 90s.
Rogowski’s career took a sudden nose dive when the company he spent the majority of his career with filed for bankruptcy. Following this, he fell from a hotel window in West Germany, severely injuring himself after landing on a fence. Then, after converting to a strict Evangelical form of Christianity, his relationship with his girlfriend became strained and ended after four years, leading to a period of alcoholism.
In 1991, a friend of his ex-girlfriend, Jessica Bergsten, spent the day with Rogowski and after drinking wine and watching movies in his apartment he hit her from behind with a club, dragged her into the bedroom and raped her while she was shackled to his bed, all before killing her. Taking the advice of his attorney he admitted guilt for the murder and received a total of 61 years for the combined charges of murder and rape.
7. Will Hayden – Molested Ex-Girlfriend’s Daughter (And His Own Daughter, Too)
The former Marine Sergeant and US reality star Will Hayden found fame on Discovery Channel’s Sons of Guns which ran from 2011 until 2014. The reality series focused on Hayden’s Red Jacket Firearms business that specialized in custom firearms builds, with his daughter Stephanie and son-in-law Kris Ford.
Will Hayden was arrested in August 2014 and charged with the molestation of the 12-year-old daughter of an ex-girlfriend. In addition, Hayden was also accused of aggravated rape by his oldest daughter, stating that she was also raped at the age of 12.
Although he originally denied all the charges against him, Hayden eventually pleaded no contest and was sentenced to three life sentences, plus 40 years with no eligibility for parole, probation, or a suspension of sentence.
6. Craig Titus And Kelly Ryan – Arson And Battery With A Deadly Weapon
Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan were a well respected, popular and outspoken power couple in the world of fitness and bodybuilding with both winning several titles throughout their professional careers. However, the respect and accolades would all be for naught upon the discovery of the burnt corpse of their live-in personal assistant Melissa James inside a Jaguar car belonging to Kelly Ryan.
The couple immediately went on the run but was arrested and extradited back to Nevada where they awaited trial. Instead of going through the process of a trial, Titus, along with Ryan, pleaded guilty to reduced charges, with Ryan entering an Alford plea to arson and battery with a deadly weapon resulting in significant bodily harm. Ryan received two consecutive terms 3-13 years and Titus received 21-55 years. It was revealed that Melissa James was beaten, tasered, and drugged.
Although Kelly Ryan’s sentence was much lighter than Titus’, she has already been rejected for parole but is eligible to apply again in October 2017. Titus, however, isn’t eligible for parole until 2026.
5. Phil Spector – Second-Degree Murder Of Actress
Phil Spector was a businessman who developed what became known as the Wall of Sound or the Spector Sound, and as a producer, writer, and creative director is recognized as one of the most influential figures in pop music history. Spector has produced albums by The Beatles, The Ramones, and Ike and Tina Turner to name a few, and his Wall of Sound technique can be found in hits like “Waterloo” and “Dancing Queen” by ABBA, “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth” by Meat Loaf, and “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen.
However, Spector’s legacy has forever been tarnished by the fact that on February 3, 2003, he shot and killed the film and TV actress Lana Clarkson at his mansion with a gunshot wound to the mouth. Spector claimed that the killing was an “accidental suicide” after “she kissed the gun.” After an initial hung jury, Spector was retried and sentenced to 19 years to life in prison for second-degree murder.
4. War Machine – Life In Prison For Severely Assaulting His Girlfriend
War Machine, who was born Jon Koppenhaver, was a very popular mixed martial artist that was most notably featured on The Ultimate Fighter. Koppenhaver, who legally changed his name to “War Machine” in 2008, saw a quick downward spiral in his career when he was fired for making disrespectful comments about fellow UFC competitor, the late Evan Tanner, claiming that Tanner – who was a well-known biker and adventurer – deliberately went to the desert to kill himself, despite medical examiners proving otherwise.
War Machine had a brief stint in the pornographic industry mostly working with his then-girlfriend Christy Mack. After a stint in jail for assault and battery, War Machine’s violent streak went to another level when on August 8, 2014, he assaulted and attempted to rape Christy Mack and beat up her associate Corey Thomas at her home in Las Vegas. Mack suffered from 18 broken bones, missing teeth, fractured ribs and a ruptured liver. For his crimes, War Machine was sentenced to life in prison with a possibility of parole after 36 years.
3. Shelley Malil – Attempted Murder And Assault With A Deadly Weapon
Shelley Malil is an Indian-born American actor who has been featured in film and TV roles such as Holes, Collateral Damage, Scrubs, NYPD Blue, and the West Wing. He’s perhaps more recognized for his supporting role playing Haziz, a co-worker of Steve Carell’s character in The 40-Year-Old Virgin,
However, his career hit a brick wall on August 11, 2008, when Malil was arrested for attempted murder with premeditation after stabbing his ex-girlfriend Kendra Beebe 23 times with a kitchen knife. Since they met on a dating website in 2007, the two had a turbulent relationship, and prior to the attack, Malil stole marijuana and personal items from Beebe’s house and locked her out of her own home.
2. Oscar Pistorius – Guilty Of Murder (And Still Pushing For MORE Jail Time)
Oscar Pistorius is a South African record-breaking Paralympian sprint runner who competed in T44 (single below-knee amputees) events even though he is actually a T43 (double below knee amputee). Pistorius was lovingly referred to as the “Blade Runner” and was considered an inspiration for many the world over.
One early morning in February 2013, Pistorius shot and killed his South African model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria. Claiming he mistook her for an intruder, he shot Steenkamp four times through a bathroom door. However, the prosecution argued that she was more likely have to been trying to hide and get away from him.
In 2014, Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide and received a prison sentence of 5 years, plus 3 years suspended for reckless endangerment, but Pistorius only served approximately one-sixth of his term and was released under house-arrest a year later. However, on July 6, 2016, Pistorius was sentenced to 6 years for murder instead of 5 years for culpable homicide. Although this is by far the lightest sentence on this list the prosecution is pushing for more jail time for Pistorius.
1. Michael Jace – Shot His Wife Three Times (In Front Of His Children)
Michael Jace is an American actor that found fame in films and television shows such as Boogie Nights, Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes, Cradle 2 The Grave, The Replacements and perhaps, more notably, his main casting part as the police officer suffering internal conflicts between his homosexuality and Christian faith in The Shield TV series, which won him much critical acclaim.
On the evening of May 19, 2014, police answered a domestic violence report following a call to 9-1-1 in which Michael Jace stated “I shot my wife.” When the police arrived they discovered that Jace shot his wife April three times, twice in her legs and once in her back with their two young children present as partial witnesses.
Apparently, his intention was to kill himself too, but couldn’t go through with it. Jace was sentenced to forty years to life in prison after being found guilty of second-degree murder
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